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Stewart Beach, Galveston

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During my 1975 vacation trip to Galveston, my then girlfriend and I listened mostly to KILT AM in Houston TX. Typical of the AM top 40 format in large city markets, the top rated songs were played more often than those lower down on the ratings chart. Rhinestone Cowboy (Glen Campbell), Help Me Rhonda (Johnny Rivers cover of Beach Boys hit), and Black Superman "Muhammad Ali Song" (Johnny Wakelin) were played several times each hour. I remember Rhinestone Cowboy and Help Me Rhonda getting a lot of airplay on KEEL 710 Shreveport LA and WTIX 690 New Orleans LA, but don't recall  how much airplay the Muhammad Ali song had on top 40 stations other than KILT.

The following year (1976), I spent more time listening to KILE Galveston (1400 KHz). Its overall sound was similar to those of other medium market AM stations. At the time, KILE was a Class IV (now called Class D). All Class IV stations transmitted on designated local frequencies with 1000 watts day and 250 watts night.  Also on 1400 KHz), KAOK Lake Charles LA, where I worked was 115 air miles away. Whenever we had a daytime outage at KAOK (off the air due to technical problems) KILE would be clearly audible in the Lake Charles area. This effect was less evident at night due to the power reduction of all Class IV stations to 250 watts and the increased effects of natural (QRN) and man-made (QRM) atmospheric noise. As I was driving back from Galveston at night in August 1976, the KILE 250 watt signal began to fade and get noisy after I had driven only a few miles north on I-45. Bill Carr (consulting engineer, William B. Carr and Associates), had told me this was typical for KILE, KAOK, or any other Class IV AM broadcast station transmitting at night with 250 watts.

Present day Class D regulations now allow day and night operation at 1000 watts. The rationale being that co-channel interference between AM stations would remain the same but man-made and atmospheric noises would be lass noticeable due to the increased night transmitting power. In 1972, AM radio stations had 75% of the radio audience and consequent advertising revenue; in 1982 50%, and in 1988 only 25%. KEEL still operates on 710 at its original output signal parameters (50 KW directional day, 5 KW directional night, separate day and night patterns) but has a news/talk/sports format. In the 1980s WTIX (10 KW directional day, 5 KW directional night, separate day and night patterns) changed to a mixed format that lasted until Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005. The 690 frequency is now operated under a different call sign by a religious broadcaster with reduced output signal parameters. New Orleans area listeners can tune in to WTIX-FM at 94.3 MHz and anyone with internet access can listen the station on the internet. Either way, listeners can enjoy oldies from the heyday years of the original WTIX (50s, 60s, 70s) as well as many of the original PAMS jingles.           

Edited by k5jri radio
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Thanks to Tumbleweed_Tx for sending label image and YouTube link  for the 1976 record, MUHAMMAD ALI, performed by SIR MACK RICE. This inspired more research (which I should have done before leaving the posting) to identify the record I listened to in summer 1975 on KILT Houston TX as BLACK SUPERMAN 'MUHAMMAD ALI' , a mid-tempo reggae performed by Johnny Wakelin. Once I heard it again on YouTube, there is no doubt this is the song I remember hearing numerous times on KILT during my July 1975 vacation trip to Galveston TX. Thanks again! 


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Really enjoyed listening to an online posting of the 6/22/1975 Jay West air check on KILT (Houston) 610 AM. The air check date is is very close to when my then girlfriend and I were on our week-long Galveston vacation. KILT was a constant companion while in the car, the motel room (when we weren't watching TV), Stewart Beach or the motel swimming pool. I knew of many small and medium market disk jockeys who listened to various big market top 40 stations (some would take notes while they were listening) to get ideas for improving their techniques and maybe getting a shot at their own big market gig.

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